Tag Archive: NJ Legislature

QoTD: Democrats in the NJ Legislature

Quote of the Day to CWA’s Legislative & Political Director, Seth Hahn:

For those keeping score at home, the Democrats in the New Jersey legislature had a busy schedule before they went home for the holidays. They muscled through a bill to make it easier to privatize municipal water infrastructure with no public input and fewer regulatory oversights and then they added a provision to a bill that could make it easier for private companies to develop for-profit ventures at Liberty State Park, which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. They did not, however, have time to pass a statewide earned sick days measure, and the State Senate couldn’t even find time to give that bill a committee hearing. Cue 2015, where we’re about to get a lot of campaign literature about how they’re all just fighting for the common man and standing up for working families. [emphasis mine]

Dr. Feel Good Should Collaborate with Dr. Kevorkian

Over the past years we have trekked through infested budgetary waters where our financial needs exceeded our grasp. Complying with the requirements for pen/ben contributions, infrastructure, school funding, and more has been like wading through murky waters that can only do us harm. And it’s not getting any easier. The budget process should begin with a more realistic revenue projection – one achieved through consensus.

It is time that Dr. Feel Good (a.k.a. Gov. Christie) work with Dr.Kevorkian (the unpleasant moniker Christie conferred on the legislature’s Budget Director David Rosen.) Dr. Feel Good’s revenue projections in the past several years may have made him and us feel good, but six or eight months into the budget year he has had to say “oops,” slash items he never particularly liked, and face credit agencies which lowered our rating and increased our cost of borrowing.  

Pension Fund Ruling Outcomes

Mary C. Jacobson, Mercer County Assignment Judge, will hear oral argument on the pension cases, consolidated under a single docket, tomorrow at 2 p.m. Although this is a pension case, it also has a significant impact on the state budget, departmental budgets, inequality, unfunded liabilities, interest rates, and the economy. The lawsuits pit the governor’s budget process rights against the unions’ contract rights to a full annual state pension contribution. For the unions it’s important that the court uphold the validity of the contract even if there is no money in the 2014 budget for a full pension payment. Governor Christie seeks carte blanche to pay into the pension fund as as he wishes. There are several possible outcomes, each having different impacts. Regardless there remain long-term systemic problems that need solving.

Our Budget Crater: PLAN C

The two-year shortfall of $ 2 to 3 billion that our government is facing represents a significant gash in our budgets and not something that can be repaired by moving expenses from one year to the next nor other forms of short-term gimmicks. Christie has presented his Plan A, he claims to have no other plan, and he is no rush to suggest alternatives. The burden is on the Legislature to do so. Others have proposed Plan B which often consists of a millionaire’s tax, or a gas tax, or cutting state subsidies, etc. Any one one or two of these plans, however, is insufficient to meet the challenge.  We need a Plan C.  

NJ State Support of Rutgers Doesn’t Merit 63% Control of RU Governing Board

promoted by Rosi

Rumor has it that the badly flawed bill S1860, sponsored by State Senate President Sweeney, will come up for a vote today.

S1860 is probably illegal according to an opinion released by New Jersey’s Office of Legislative Services (OLS) yesterday.

In addition to flouting state and constitutional law, the bill gives the state 63% control of the Rutgers Board of Governors while the state provides only 19.5% of Rutgers $3.6 billion dollar budget.  In general, New Jersey provides less than 25% of Rutgers budget and is usually below 20% in direct state support for Rutgers. Direct state appropriations to Rutgers for FY2013 were actually less than 1995’s Direct State appropriations and have been on a steady decline since Governor Christie assumed office and Senator Sweeney became Senate President.  

A Short Primer on NJ’s Budget

Governor Christie, who weighs his NJ responsibilities against his national ambitions, has been delaying his announcement as to how precisely he proposes to cope with a $2 billion plus shortfall in the current and next year budget. His knee-jerk reaction has been to slam the pension system, but the problem is broader. Some of the steps necessary are clear but painful and difficult politically. With a budget having to be “balanced” by June 30, the longer Christie waits the less press time available to air his dirty laundry and for the legislature to propose alternatives. The legislature, however, shares responsibility and must take more initiative.  

Tomorrow is #CorfieldMoneyBomb Day here at Blue Jersey

Tomorrow, on Twitter and Facebook, look for hashtag #CorfieldMoneyBomb. Gonna be fun. Promoted by Rosi

In every effective campaign there’s a moment – you can feel it – when all the pieces click together. Buzz. Energy ramps up, volunteers offer their time (thank you). Cool stuff starts happening every day. That’s what it’s been like here at my campaign. I’m so grateful and excited. So let’s take it up a notch:

Our Money Bomb – Thursday, July 25 we’re going to show our grassroots strength with our first Money Bomb – a grassroots fundraising effort compacted into one fun 24-hour day that engages all kinds of people giving at all levels. Money is fuel for a campaign, just like volunteers, ideas and hard work are. On Money Bomb Thursday, you can participate from wherever you are – pool, beach, work or home – with nothing more than a smartphone or computer. You’ll be joining supporters and some surprise guests, and we’ll be all over social media as we watch the numbers climb. And it’s going to be fun. Even if you can’t contribute a lot, every little bit helps when we all work together.

RSVP now to participate & pledge your support for Money Bomb Thursday July 25

I’m fighting for a seat in the New Jersey Assembly against a Tea Party-endorsed GOP incumbent, in a state where Republican legislators do pretty much whatever the Governor tells them to do. That’s good for Chris Christie, but not so good for the people in the 16th District, or the people of New Jersey. I’m working hard, and the grassroots power of ordinary people behind this race is amazing. Thank you. And thank you, Blue Jersey!

RSVP now to participate & pledge your support for Money Bomb Thursday July 25

Take Away The Gun From The Bad Guy

To rephrase the heinous comment from America’s foremost gun industry lobbyist Wayne LaPierre, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is to take away the gun from the bad guy.”

Because State borders are porous, and the internet even more so, effective federal laws are our first line of defense. Sadly many Congress members are paid off, live in fear of having to face a primary opponent, are frightened of a small group of loud gun advocates, and misrepresent the 2nd Amendment. Whatever Congress may soon pass will do little to solve the problem.

Such does not stop New Jersey from taking needed aggressive action. Alas, Governor Christie, in the midst of one election and considering another, seems loath to infuriate a part of his base. He has just received his task force’s report which does not even address expanded background checks, a ban on Internet gun sales, or new limits on high-capacity magazines. He says he will issue recommendations shortly, but expect baby steps where giant steps are needed.

The Assembly passed a slew of bills but the Senate has just been sitting on them. It will be up to the legislature, some of whose members are under the same influence as Congressmen, to show they have the guts to do what’s right. And they have the difficult task of garnering enough votes to over-ride a Christie veto.

What is needed? Sales and possession of any type of attack weapon in New Jersey should be a crime. Yes, owners should return such military-like weapons to state facilities. Law enforcement should vigorously seek out such owners, confiscate the weapons and severely punish those who have not complied. The same goes for magazines with more than five bullets and armor-piercing bullets. There should be universal background checks on all purchases and transfers. Owners of fire arms should have a license and renew it annually. The data bank of criminals and the mentally ill should be strengthened. Local law enforcement should increase its efforts to reduce trafficking and punish more severely those who buy or possess weapons illegally.

Personally, I like to hunt. I don’t like an America where “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” We have too many guns already. It’s time for New Jersey to take many of them back.    

Cardinale Out Of Touch With The Times, Out Of Step With The 39th District

promoted by Rosi

It is truly an honor to be running to represent the people of the 39th Legislative District. But sometimes we have seen elected officials take their position for granted. When my opponent Gerry Cardinale first went to Trenton in 1981, New Jersey’s median income was $22,000. Postage was 20-cents. Gasoline cost 90-cents.  As many Blue Jersey readers know, that is a far cry 30 years later from the challenges that residents are facing today.

New Jersey and the demographic makeup of Bergen and Passaic counties have dramatically changed since then. Its residents are now younger, more diverse, and more progressive.  The problem however, is that Mr. Cardinale has not changed with the times. He no longer reflects or represents the values and concerns that are important to his constituents.

I believe that the people of Bergen and Passaic counties deserve a fresh, progressive and vocal advocate in Trenton. As an experienced social worker with an extensive record of community service and activism, I would promote and support legislation in the Senate to stabilize property taxes; create jobs and strengthen small businesses; encourage shared municipal services, champion women’s pay-equity and healthcare; and fight for practical flood-control initiatives.

We saw the other day how Senator Lautenberg, a genuine statesman with a distinguished record of service to the people of New Jersey announced his difficult decision to leave public service – a decision that he made with the same grace and dignity with which he serves. It’s clear that if Mr. Cardinale won’t emulate Senator Lautenberg’s gallantry, I will ask the voters to make the decision for him.

Make a Contribution:  http://www.bidwellforsenate.co…

Like us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Bidwel…

Follow us on twitter:  https://twitter.com/janbidwell

Visit us on the web:     http://www.bidwellforsenate.com  

Off to an exciting start!

Some good diary rescue tonight. Promoted by Rosi

We are off to an exciting start in our campaign for Senate in the 39th legislative District.  Check out some of the recent coverage on the announcement of our campaign:
The Star Ledger covered the announcement of our campaign:

Jan Bidwell, a social worker with a background in child advocacy, has announced plans to run for state Senate in the 39th District.  She’ll challenge longtime Sen. Gerald Cardinale, a Demarest Republican first elected in 1982. Her platform includes lowering property taxes, encouraging consolidated services among towns and broadening women’s access to healthcare.

The Patch article featured some of my priorities in this campaign as opposed to my opponent who is out of touch with the needs of the district:

"Our district needs a senator who understands the challenges of citizens who are buckling under the burden of high taxes and budget cuts, who are unemployed, who deserve to be paid a fair wage,"

The Back Room On PolitickerNJ picked up our announcement as well.

You can join our campaign and help put another strong women that will fight for our families in the Senate.

Make a Contribution:  http://www.bidwellforsenate.com/donate.html
Like us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/BidwellforSenate
Follow us on twitter:  https://twitter.com/janbidwell
Visit us on the web:     http://www.bidwellforsenate.com 

I look forward to the race ahead and hope you will join us on this journey to stand up to the right wing Tea Party agenda that has stranded New Jersey’s families. Thank you for everything you do!